A Two-for-One Book Review

sincerelyI read this as a two-for-one book. Both stories are separate but connected through the penpal letters of each of the main characters.

Sincerely, Sophie // by Courtney Sheinmel (2010)

In this book, we meet Sophie. She’s entering sixth grade, and her class takes part in a nation-wide penpal program. That’s how she meets Katie (from all the way out in California). But instead of telling Katie what it’s like living in New York City, she starts to pour out her worries and fears to this new friend. But what she won’t tell Katie is the worst fear of all. That her parents are getting a divorce!

Divorce books make me sad. I can handle one every now and then, but I had trouble with this one. Not because of the topic. I think it’s more that I’ve read several books featuring this topic already. On the other hand, in this one, Sophie refuses to give her father the time of day after he moves out, and I fully empathized with her! (Maybe it was just all the emotional energy I felt while reading the book!)

What I did like is the relationship between Sophie and her little sister. And I like how the relationship with the dad is restored to a certain extent. (Although, I’m still kind of angry at the dad for leaving in the first place!!!) [3 stars]

Sincerely, Katie // by Courtney Sheinmel (2010)

This time, we get to meet Katie! We already know a little about Katie from the first book. In this book, the story here revolves around a big community project that Katie organizes after she hears about an earthquake in Mexico. When her friend Jake starts paying attention to another girl, Katie gets a little jealous. She starts to do some things that she later regrets (like lying to the other girl about Jake!)

Of course, there’s still the pen pal thing going on and Katie and Sophie continue to exchange letters. And in this book, we also get to see Sophie and Katie meet. [*slight SPOILER] I did expect a little more to that meeting, but it wasn’t as crucial to the plot as you could imagine. [end Spoiler]

Overall, I did like the book. I definitely like the pen pal angle. [3 stars]


Have you read either of these books? What did you think?

*Note: I’m posting this for Greg Pattridge’s Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday

9 thoughts on “A Two-for-One Book Review

  1. These sound like really fun books! It’s funny—I don’t think I’ve heard of anyone except book characters having pen pals. Also, I wonder if pen pals are now more like e-mail pals, or if kids are still mailing actual letters. Thanks for the great review!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have not read either of these books, but I do remember how much I loved having pen pals when I was a middle-grader. I corresponded with a cousin in Louisiana and the daughter of my father’s business associate in Ilinois. I lived in Northern California, and I thought hearing about their lives and the way things were done in different places was awesome. Thanks for the fun post for MMGM!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Enjoyed your reviewing the first book and its sequel — it gave me a better sense of the story. Haven’t read a pen pal story in a very long time and I always longed to have a pen pal from another country — but that didn’t happen in the 60s. Thanks for sharing!

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  4. I hadn’t heard of these two books and I have a niece who is the perfect age to enjoy them. The pen pal angle is sure to provide a lot of comparison to our current always messaging world. Thanks for featuring on MMGM.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I had a couple pen pals growing up. I always enjoyed the exchanges. I wonder if kids have them these days. I don’t know of any classes in my school having pen pals. Seems like something that kids would find fun- either writing by hand or an online version of pen pals.

    Thanks for the review! Reading letters is a great way to read a story. The characters hopefully help each other through any tough times. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I love the idea of pen pals that carry on through the second book! The issues in these stories seem so perfectly middle grade. Thanks for your review!

    Liked by 1 person

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